Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Having a Rubbery Time in Japan!

As Norman waits patiently in Japan to see whether the latest appeal to President Putin is successful, preparations to get 'Roxy' ready for the next flight continue apace. 

Norman has kindly sent us some photos showing the first stage in getting Roxy ready for the all important CAA inspection and in his own words describes the action...

Having a Rubbery Time in Japan!

One of the big challenges this spring, apart from seeking the elusive Russian entry permission… was the fact that the aircraft engine would need some additional maintenance over and above its normal routine servicing. As a precaution, Rotax engines are obliged to have all their rubber components changed periodically to prevent the rubber ageing and weakening while attached on the engine, which in turn could lead to leaks. So it was this year that I needed to arrange this task to be performed before the next CAA annual re-permitting inspection that allows the aircraft to fly on for another year. 
Jay Cook, like a surgeon, prepares for the clinical procedure ahead.

New Hoses, seals and gaskets were duly ordered up and I brought them out to Japan in a very battered old suitcase with only one roll along wheel….a bit too battered as it turned out as the dishevelled, Jet lagged foreigner limping along on one wheel in the ultra efficient Tokyo Haneda International Airport terminal soon drew the attention of the Customs men at security…some probing questions followed about the somewhat bizarre contents of my suitcase, but my equally bizarre explanation of needing all these rubber attachments to fix onto my own 5 metre long aircraft that I had flown all the way from the UK seemed to miraculously placate them - perhaps they are very used to seeing all the best jet setting international pilots roll up with one wheel missing on their luggage…
Make sure you remember how it all goes back in again!

The next piece of the maintenance jigsaw involved the reappearance of a previous GGG stalwart, namely Jay Cook, who seasoned blog readers may remember looked after Roxy in the Philippines during the winter of 2010-11. Jay volunteered to give me a hand with the hose change out job and duly arrived with tools and knowhow to lead the task of removing all the old hoses and replace with the new.
All go in the temporary GGG workshop

Now to look at a Rotax 914 Engine, you could easily be lost as to where to start with the Rubber Spaghetti that you are faced with. There are separate hose systems for oil, water coolant, air and fuel along with some further rubber components hidden deep within the carburettors. However taking one system at a time, we soon worked our way around, although not without plenty of battling with some of the more obstinate hose clips who would conspire to position themselves in the most awkward angles and hard to reach places. As Jay accurately predicted on the first day, we would probably both end up losing some skin on our knuckles in the coming week…
The scrapped engine hoses that had seen Norman and Roxy halfway around the globe.

Draining, changing out and then refilling the systems with their respective fluids, we then had the slightly nervous but most satisfying sensation of knowing there were no leaks and that all the tasks were complete. Engine testing followed to purge the systems of any possible trapped air and give all the seals a proper check while the engine was up to operating temperatures. With great relief on my part, the engine fired up first time and I am happy to report is now running very well again.

The final task was to meticulously go around all the newly installed pipework and check that there would be no rubbing or chafing on any surfaces. A quick trip to the local “Ninja boot shop” (see blog 29 Dec 2011) secured 2 metres of best quality, clear, reinforced, “aviation grade” (well, almost!) garden hose and yet another pack of cable ties (which along with Velcro is surely one of the all time best inventions of the 20th Century) with which to protect and sleeve any vulnerable hose sections.
Norman and the Shonai Airport Fire crew give the thumbs up to a job well done .

So the hoses were now complete but we still had to pass the CAA inspection…more in part 2, coming soon.


We will of course bring you part two of the preparations for the resumption of the world record breaking flight and to help make sure that it does go ahead please remember to keep sending those letters to President Putin requesting he let Norman fly through the east of Russia and complete this special project. The link to send letters is...

The Gyrox Team


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update. Can't wait until you get back flying again.